Performance speed

Overall Performance

The Canon EOS 650D is powered by the same Digic 5 processor found in recent compact cameras like the Canon G1 X, offering extended JPEG processing capabilities such as correction for lens CA and vignetting. As with its predecessor, the EOS 600D, we're very pleased with the operational speed of this latest addition to the Rebel lineup. The 650D is quick to respond to user input, whether it's via external buttons and dials or the touchscreen. Image browsing and magnification in playback mode is very swift as well. The camera can power on and capture a still image in just under 0.4 second when set to manual focus. In short, you're unlikely to find yourself waiting on the camera, outside of using very processor intensive operations like the new HDR Backlight Control and Handheld Night Scene shooting modes or long exposure noise reduction.

Continuous Shooting and Buffering

The EOS 650D boasts a maximum frame rate of 5 fps, an increase over not just its predecessor, the EOS 600D - which topped out at 3.6 fps - but most entry to mid-level DSLRs outside of the Sony SLT series. As you'd expect, this maximum frame rate is consistent among the camera's file format and image quality options. As you can see in the chart below, the performance distinctions revolve around the camera's buffer capacity. Shooting in RAW+JPEG mode for example, provides you with very few shots at 5 fps before the camera drops to a pokey 1 fps shooting rate.

When shooting fast action sequences, operating the camera in JPEG mode not only gives you the greatest number of single burst captures at the maximum frame rate, but while the camera is writing data to the card you can resume shooting at or near the maximum frame rate for several additional exposures. Regardless of which image quality option you've selected, you can access to the menu system while data is being written to the card. Changes to the mode dial (as well as switching to video mode) during this time are not registered until the buffer is cleared, but this relatively brief 4 second delay that you encounter in the Raw-enabled modes is largely inconsequential when performing those kind of actions.

Continuous mode

In continuous shooting mode, the 650D maintains its maximum frame rate until it reaches its buffer capacity and must off-load image data to the SD card. When this happens, the camera shoots at successively slower frame rates for several images until settling in at the 'buffer full rates' shown in the table below.

JPEG Large/Fine
Frame rate 5.0 fps 5.0 fps 5.0 fps
Number of frames 12 6 3
Buffer full rate 2.5 fps 1.4 fps 1 fps
Write complete n/a 4 sec 4 sec

With a shooting rate that places it among the better performers in its class, the 650D becomes a much more viable option than previous Rebel models for those looking to capture recreational sports and action shots in JPEG-only mode.

All timings performed using a 64GB SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC card (90MB/s).

Battery life

The EOS 650D uses the same LP-E8 lithium-ion battery found in both the EOS 600D and 550D models. It's got a capacity of 1120 mAh which, according to Canon, is good for approximately 440 shots (CIPA standard) or approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes of movie shooting time. Of course battery life is largely dependent on shooting conditions and operational habits; live view versus viewfinder use, for example. Yet our day to day shooting experience with the camera falls roughly in line with Canon's specifications.

While sub-500 image capacity is certainly at the low end of what you'd expect from an entry-level DSLR, it can get you through a full day of shooting. During our shooting excursions we usually found it necessary to recharge the battery each night to ensure adequate capacity for the following day. Packing a spare battery, however, would be wise for multi-day shooting occasions. Another, more expensive and significantly bulkier solution is the optional BG-E8 battery grip, which can house two battery packs simultaneously, as well as allow for use of AA batteries.